Essex Bridleways Association
PASS WIDE AND SLOW Published by Essex Bridleways Association Charity number: 801530
Inside this issue...
• EDCL – Better Bridleways for all • Changes in Road Traffic Law • 2021 Ride Reports • Wordsearch
Contents 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 14 16 22
Your Committee New Projects Officer Frinton Beach update Officers’ Reports Weald Park BHS news Changes in Road Traffic Law Dates for your Diary EDCL - Better Bridleways for all Ride Reports Wordsearch
ON THE COVER
Front cover courtesy of BHS Safety Department – Alan Hiscox and Emily Yates.
Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety at BHS, was our guest speaker at the 2017 AGM, telling us about the “Dead Slow” campaign and the Society’s steps to influence driver behaviour. You can read a summary of his talk on pp 8-9 of Update, Spring 2018.
Helen Mathias Call: 07958 962024 facebook.com/ eyecontactphoto
EBA is a member of:
• Affiliate member of BHS • Open Spaces Society • Hundred Parishes Society • National Federation of Bridleway Associations EBA also has regular contact with Hatfield Forest Riders Association and Epping Forest Riders Association.
YOUR VOICE COUNTS
By Katie Jerram-Hunnable, EBA Patron
ow that restrictions are finally coming to an end, we have resumed our showing calendar and are taking part in the numerous events organised for the riding community. For many, a quiet hack at the weekends or after work is a pleasure we look forward to all week. Riders appreciate being out and about again, whether in the show ring or simply enjoying their horses. This edition of Update focuses on riding on the roads – something we all have to do from time to time. Forthcoming changes in traffic regulation will give greater support for riders and carriage drivers on our roads but we have to play our part by acting responsibly. Polite behaviour, courtesy to motorists and wearing appropriate high-viz clothing all help to raise the profile of horse riders as sensible, well-behaved and mannerly road users. The Chair of EBA, Julia Wilson, encourages you to go one step further: write to your local Member of Parliament and lobby for adoption of the EDCL under the Environmental Bill. I endorse her views. We need to ensure that we have permanent rights of way for our off-road access that is protected in law. Do please follow this up. Enjoy your riding this autumn, and keep safe on our roads.
A note from
The Chair By Julia Wilson, EBA Chair
Greetings All! Life has slowly regained some normality and with that, EBA work has resumed and gained momentum. The Trustees and our three employed officers have been working hard to raise the profile of EBA and equestrians in Essex. However, few of us will have failed to notice the level and speed of development throughout our county. Maybe it is because I haven't travelled much in the past 18 months but recently, as I travel further, I have noticed a new housing development at every turn. Although we feel powerless to stop the ever-encroaching growth of urbanisation, we can use some of it to our benefit. Sue Dobson, EBA's Bridleway Development Officer, has spent hours poring over plans, Highway reports and consultations to ensure we have our say and make sure riders are not forgotten. However, there is so much that you as members can do to help. We can no longer sit back and inwardly grumble hoping that someone else will sort it for us. Membership is so important when we are lobbying for change, power is
in numbers. We now have over 800 members and we want to increase this. So go out there and recruit some new members for us, tell your friends and direct them to the EBA website. You may have noticed emails and posts on facebook appealing for information on various issues. Please take the time to read and respond. We rely on local knowledge and for you to tell us what is needed in your area where you ride. Write to your MP, tell them we need more access, multi user tracks and safer roads. This leads me nicely onto my next plea! You will read on page 14 and 15 about our forthcoming campaign to secure permanent access through the Environmental Land Management Scheme. If I can ask one thing of you this year, it is to write to your MP about this issue. We have done all the hard work for you, details are on the website and in the Update, just download the letter, amend it to make it specific to you and your area and send it off electronically. Three easy steps to make your voice heard for the riding community in Essex! In May this year we welcomed our newest recruit – Christine Rust, Project and Funding officer. Chris has not been slow in getting to grips with
her new role and I have every confidence she will pick up the gauntlet and rise to the challenge. You can read about her recent successes on page 5. It has been a mixed year, starting with a great deal of uncertainty but I am pleased to say that rides have resumed and it has been lovely to see so many of you out and about at our venues across the county. In November our AGM will be at Keene Hall where we welcome everyone to attend in person. After the formalities, we can enjoy a talk from our guest speaker and socialise in the timehonoured way with tea and home-made cakes; something I am really looking forward to.
Our Committee – August 2021 On Thursday 12th August we met for the first time in over a year at Keene Hall, Galleywood. To celebrate a return to normality, Sandra baked a tray of scones served in the customary way with butter and strawberry jam. Delicious!
Here is a quick refresher of who we are and what we do within EBA.
6 Alison Power
1 Julia Wilson - Chair
Organises rides with Sandra and runs the Facebook pages. Something else she shares with Sandra - both have husbands called Julian!
More from Julia in her address on page 3.
7 Louise Fuller - Treasurer
2 Jan Arthur - Vice Chair
She keeps us all in order and keeps the accounts. You will learn how we have fared financially at the AGM in November.
Jan has been instrumental in bringing about a speedier route to Bridleway adoptions this year – read about it on p14 and learn how you can play your part by writing to your MP. 3 Lisa Guy - Our Secretary Lisa writes and distributes the Minutes and keeps everything running smoothly behind the scenes. 4 Brenda Hatch - Bridlesway Clearance This year Brenda ran the Hatfield Forest ride (12th June) which went like clockwork. 5 Sandra Deeran - Rides Co-ordinator You can read her trials and tribulations with two of this summer’s rides on page 16 of this issue. She is also a dab hand at designing crosswords, puzzles, and teaching us how to read maps.
Not in this photo: Alison Craigmile – Membership Secretary Alison was on holiday in Scotland for the August meeting. Sally Crone - has recently moved to Suffolk but still very involved with the work of EBA. Denise Dillon - who manages the admin for Ride entries. Jane Skinner – Editor, EBA Update, who took the photo. We look forward to seeing you all at the Annual Meeting on Thursday 11 November. Details on p13 of Update.
Introducing our new Projects and Funding Officer –
Hello, I’m Christine Rust and I joined Essex Bridleways Association in June this year as the Projects and Funding Officer, taking over from Mary Pengelly who has relocated to Cornwall leaving ‘big boots’ for me to fill. Until August 2019, I was employed by Maldon District Council as Community Development Officer and was with the Council for 29 years, 21 of which as their Community Development Officer. A good part of my work required me to start and manage projects, mainly to do with health and wellbeing. I also organised and ran events, wrote funding bids and managed the Council’s Community Grant Scheme. Much of my work was in partnership with local Primary Care Trusts and Voluntary Services for the benefit of the community. Since leaving the Council I now volunteer for Colchester Garrison Riding for the Disabled Group (RDA) and am training to become a Coach. My new role with Essex Bridleways Association (EBA) gives me the chance to work with another group of people with whom I am very familiar, namely the horse riding community. I have ridden since the age of 3, keeping and competing my own horses and ponies since the age of 12. With my daughter Immi I own a Connemara mare, Welsh Cob Section D gelding, and during
Christine and Bella
lockdown we bred a sports horse filly (stable name Bella) by a part-bred Arab Sports Horse stallion ‘Heritage Arrakis’ who stands at the Heritage Coast Stud in Suffolk. You can see Bella in my photo. My role entails looking at maintenance issues in general and seeking solutions. I am also looking at ways we can attract funding for specific projects. I am passionate about access for all to outside green spaces which we all know benefits our general health and mental wellbeing. There should be room for us all to co-exist safely. Joining EBA gives me the opportunity to work in partnership with like-minded people, some of whom volunteer to protect and extend our network of bridleways and to keep them open and usable for the benefit of the community. The extensive
programme of rides put on the by the EBA Rides Coordinators and volunteers, which help to highlight the varied routes that we have across Essex give people the opportunity to explore areas that they may not have been aware of. Together with Alison Power, the representative for Castle Point, I am currently working on a local network of routes in the area of Benfleet known as Thundersley where off-road tracks are ever more in demand, owing to the increasing amount of construction traffic in the area. Riders are currently unable to use some of these tracks because of boggy patches and access by vehicles which is causing further damage. This is forcing riders to spend longer on the public highway, which places them at risk. Anything we can do to reduce this risk should be explored.
Frinton Beach Update Left to right: Suzanne Wilson - Chair, Colne Valley Riding Club Wendy O'Brien - local rider Peter Harris - TDC Councillor for Weeley and Tendring Emma Overton - Petition founder and local rider Ali Power - Chair, Tendring Riding Club Sue Dobson (EBA Bridleways Development Officer) Nina Snow - local rider
ban on riders using Frinton beach during the summer months has been overturned after the leader of the local council said the order had been imposed without official consent.
In the autumn last year, signs were erected on Frinton Beach announcing that from Good Friday until 30 September horses would be barred from the sands. New restrictions were also imposed for the winter months, only permitting riding on the beach until 11am. Tendring District Council said the move was in response to “issues reported last season” and an anticipated influx of “out-of-area” riders and holiday makers when lockdown restrictions were lifted. Local riders felt they were being targeted unfairly by the ban and launched a petition that attracted 4,793 signatures. Last week, Tendring District Council leader Neil Stock
announced that the decision had been made “by Officers without the knowledge or consent of the Cabinet at Tendring District Council” and that the Council’s Chief Executive had been asked to undertake a “full and thorough” investigation of the events surrounding the ban to ensure it “does not happen again”. “On behalf of Tendring District Council I can confirm that there is no ban in force preventing horses using the district’s beaches, including the one at Frinton,” he said.
chips and go down to the beach to watch the horses, and others saying how thrilling it was to see them gallop through the tide.” Emma is now helping to create a code of conduct for riders using Frinton Beach, along with fellow campaigners Wendy O’Brian, Nina Snow and Councillor Peter Harris. “We’re able to work with the Council now instead of against them,” Wendy added. “Peter’s wife rides and he is now working to set a budget aside to open up more bridleways in Tendring as this issue has emphasised how few there are in the District. Hopefully this is just the beginning of an effort to make a difference to everyone.”
He added that the local equestrian community was developing a code of practice, in consultation with the Council, to minimise any risk to There has been a slight public safety going forwards. adjustment to hours for riding Local rider Emma Overton, on the beach, which are now who set up the petition, said “I before 9am and after 8pm in think the signatures on the the summer, returning to petition were 50/50 horse unrestricted access during the riders and the general public winter months. — there were people saying Adapted from Horse and Hound, 19 April how they liked to get fish and 2021
Frinton Beach rules can be found on the EBA Website here: News items: Frinton 20 April 2021. https://www.essexbridleways.co.uk/generaldocuments/Frinton%20Beach%20rules%20v.08(1).pdf
A month in the life Development Officer’s Report - July 2021 Here is a brief digest from Sue Dobson based on her July report to the Committee, which gives a flavour of the work she carries out month by month. As you will see, she has many projects under her remit and continues to do sterling work for the Essex Bridleways Association.
Braintree: Kelvedon Neighbourhood Plan – I responded to this during the month. As usual for these documents there isn’t much to go on but it is important that we keep up our profile. I attended the Braintree Local Plan Examination hearing which was held virtually via Teams – useful as whilst I was waiting my turn I could carry on with other work – and I put our case to the Inspectors. Hopefully it had the desired effect. Stebbing Neighbourhood Plan is currently out for consultation and I will respond to that during August. I also responded to the Longfield Solar Farm consultation as mentioned last month. Castle Point: following on from our discussions with Essex Highways along with Marlene Curtis (for BHS) I received a letter confirming that there will not be any access for horse riders within this particular scheme. This is an initial part of a bigger
scheme and we intend to look at that in the future. The main item on the wish list is a crossing of the A127 on the western side of the interchange which would join up two historically-severed bridleways but this is outside the scope of the scheme at this point. Chelmsford: I attended the North Chelmsford Garden Community Masterplanning workshop which aims to look at what is required over and above the housing need within this huge development. This will be ongoing with another planned on 15th September. More from me in due course. Colchester: West Mersea Neighbourhood Plan is currently out for consultation and being worked on at the moment. Other issues: I was fortunate enough to be able to meet (virtually) the newly-elected Portfolio holder for Highways and Sustainable Transport at ECC - Cllr Lee Scott - whose remit includes PRoW’s, along with Cllr Sue
7 Cllr Lee Scott
Lissimore (his Deputy) and the overall Head of PRoW Liz Burr who worked many years ago with Katy Haines (former EBA Chair) and also knew Deirdre Graham, the founder of the EBA. The meeting only lasted 25 minutes but we did cover a lot of ground; I have since emailed him and thanked him for his time; he has replied that he looks forward to working together. As usual, if anyone has any questions or anything to add on the above, please let me know. I look forward to meeting you at the AGM in November. Sue Dobson.
Riding in the Weald Country Park A safe and interesting place to ride near Brentwood
! y r t a iG ve it Park users, especially on sunny summer days, so be aware of the many users when out and about. There is also a Park Run every Saturday usually over by 10am. • Places to avoid, (there have been riders illegally accessing them) There are a couple of places which are out of bounds for riders. These are Coxtie Green to the north and Lodge Field on the west of the Park. Please be responsible and avoid these areas.
• The designated bridleway
times of the year.
There is a dedicated bridleway all around the Weald Park. This has been set up for riders, bikers and walkers and circles the park. It has a good surface which can be ridden at any time of the year. It is marked as a blue route on the Weald map. If you are very lucky you might come across the resident deer herd on your ride and the landscape is a beautiful part of our countryside.
• Where to park
• Open access to ‘The Park’ The area known as ‘The Park’ is open to ride across as riders like. It’s so good to have open ground that you can use as you like, but be warned there are cows in the park at certain
The designated place for Horse boxes and trailers to park is the Cricketers Car Park next to the Cricket Green. This has a portion of parking space where there is no height barrier. This is quite limited at the moment, but there are plans for this to be improved in the near future. • When to ride The Weald is very busy at certain times, so best to avoid riding then. The Cricketers Car Park is used by parents setting down and collecting school children, so before and after school times are best avoided. Weekends also brings out many
• Opportunities to go outside the park on bridleways and quiet roads To extend the ride it is possible to go north out of the park, taking the right hand NE bridleway from Larch Wood to Coxtie Green Road (A128) (not the more direct N bridleway). This busy road has to be crossed, but once across there are a number of bridleways that can be ridden in a circular route. The quietest is via Hullets Lane across the golf course down Kennel Lane, then taking Solid Lane turning right to Crow Green and back to Hullets Lane. Go and enjoy a varied ride at The Weald Country Park.
The hidden benefits of wearing...
While there is no way to 100% guarantee that a driver will pass you in a responsible manner, wearing Hi-Viz will strengthen an insurance claim in the unfortunate circumstances that something outside your control goes wrong. Hi-Viz also has benefits for off road riding. It allows for dog walkers to see you from a greater distance, giving them more time to get their dog under control. If you are out hacking in an area where there are low flying aircraft or helicopters, the pilot is more likely to spot you, giving them the opportunity to either change course or gain altitude to avoid your horse reacting. Hi-Viz may also help save your life if you have a fall while out
Hi Viz Photo Credit: Jon Stroud Media
Summer’s longer days are over and we know “be seen, be safe” is the watchword on our roads and bridleways as daylight hours decrease. But have your considered other benefits of wearing Hi Viz every time you ride?
for a hack on your own. While it may not provide protection, like a helmet would, Hi-Viz can be vital in locating you if you have lost consciousness. It could help a search party spot you or even make it easier for a helicopter to spot you from above. For more information about how to stay safe while out and about, why not complete our Ride Safe Award. As part of the
cost of the Award a Hi-Viz tabard is provided. Please also remember that if you encounter an incident on the road, you can report it to BHS through the new BHS safety app, ‘Horse i’, which is available to download for free from the Apple store and Google Play. If you do not use a smartphone, you can still record incidents via the online form at horseincidents.org.uk.
Youngest ever participants The British Horse Society’s publication, ‘British Horse’ acknowledged the fundraising efforts of Eliza and Beatrice Cowell in their June edition of the magazine. “Eliza, six and Beatrice, three are the star fundraisers of the Rideathon 2020, raising £265 for the Ride Out Fund and hacking more than 70km on their Shetland ponies. They are also the youngest particpants to have ever completed Rideathon! Along with their mum Caroline, Eliza and Beatrice also help out at their local BHS Affiliated Equestrian Access Group, Essex Bridleways Association.
A new hierarchy of Road users:
WHAT ARE THE PROPOSED CHA The Department for Transport (DfT) said the new version of the Highway Code would include a “hierarchy of road users” that ensured those who could do the greatest harm, such as those in vehicles, had the “greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they may pose to others”.
The hierarchy would be, in order of priority: • Pedestrians • Horse riders and cyclists • Motorcyclists/cars/taxis/ vans/minibuses, with large passenger and heavy goods vehicles
The announcement has been welcomed by the walking charity Living Streets, which says the proposed changes will “redress the balance” of road user responsibility. Stephen Edwards, the interim The UK Transport Secretary, chief executive at Living Grant Schapps announced a Streets, said: “The new version of the Highway Highway Code Code including putting currently treats pedestrians at the top of a children walking to new “road user hierarchy.” The proposed changes, which school and lorry drivers as if they are are due to receive parliamentary approval in the equally responsible for their own or autumn, will also give other people’s pedestrians priority at safety. These junctions as well as raising changes will further awareness about the redress that dangers of speeding. These will ensure that people balance. “People who can cause the most harm walking cause in a collision, such as those in the least road danger but are vehicles, bear the "greatest often left responsibility to reduce the paying the danger they may pose to price. Road others". So, a lorry driver users who would have a greater responsibility to those driving have potential to a car or motorcycle, and likewise people cycling would cause the greatest harm have a greater responsibility should take the greatest share than pedestrians.
of responsibility to reduce the danger they pose. These proposed revisions will benefit us all.” According to the changes, cyclists should give room when passing pedestrians on shared cycle paths. No doubt the BHS and other organisations will refine the statement regarding shared bridleways. We will keep you updated in our next edition of the magazine (Ed).
NGES TO THE HIGHWAY CODE? REFRESHER COURSE Rule 215: (for motorists) Horse riders and horse-drawn vehicles. Be particularly careful of horse riders and horse-drawn vehicles especially when overtaking. Always pass wide and slowly. Horse riders are often children, so take extra care and remember riders may ride in double file when escorting a young or inexperienced horse or rider. Look out for horse riders’ and horse drivers’ signals and heed a request to slow down or stop. Take great care and treat all horses as a potential hazard; they can be unpredictable, despite the efforts of their rider/driver.
The Highway Code for horse riders
Rule 51: At night It is safer not to ride on the road at night or in poor visibility, but if you do, make sure you wear reflective clothing and your horse has reflective bands above the fetlock joints. A light, which shows white to the front and red to the rear, should be fitted with a band to the rider’s right arm and/or leg/riding boot. If you are leading a horse at night, carry a light in your right hand, showing white to the front and red to the rear, and wear reflective clothing on both you and your horse. It is strongly recommended that your horse also wears a fluorescent/reflective tail guard.
Our obligations: Rule 49: Safety equipment: children under the age of 14 must wear a helmet that complies with the Regulations. It must be fastened securely. Other riders should also follow these requirements. These requirements do not apply to a child who is a follower of the Sikh religion while wearing a turban.
Rule 52: Riding Before you take a horse on the road, you should: • Ensure all tack fits well and is in good condition • Make sure you can control the horse. Always ride with other horses who are less nervous if you think that your horse will be worried in traffic. • Never ride a horse without both a saddle and bridle.
Rule 50: Other clothing You should wear boots or shoes with hard soles and heels, lightcoloured or fluorescent clothing in daylight, and reflective clothing if you have to ride at night or in poor visibility.
Rule 53: Before riding off or turning, look behind you to make sure it is safe, then give a clear arm signal. When riding on the road, you should: • Keep to the left • Keep both hands on the reins
unless you are signalling • Keep both feet in the stirrups • Not carry another person • Not carry anything which might affect your balance or get tangled up with reins • Keep a horse you are leading to your left • Move in the direction of the traffic flow in a one-way street • Never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends. Rule 54: You must not take a horse onto a footpath or pavement and you should not take a horse onto a cycle track. Use a bridleway where possible. Equestrian crossings may be provided for horse riders to cross the road and you should use these where available (see page 12). You should dismount at level crossings where a ‘Horse Riders Dismount’ sign is displayed. Rule 55: Avoid roundabouts where possible. If you use them, you should: • Keep to the left and watch out for vehicles crossing your path to leave or join the roundabout • Signal right when crossing exits to show you are not leaving • Signal left just before you leave the roundabout.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY... 8 November Thursday 11th
Essex Bridleways Association AGM
Our annual meeting is the perfect opportunity to meet the EBA Committee, Trustees, Area Representatives and our Research Officers to find out more about our work. You can chat with our officers to learn about the best ways to help them record changes and report Rights of Way issues. Once the formalities are over, our guest speaker Wendy Hutchinson will tell us about the range of herbal remedies for horses and dogs she supplies. Her company, based in Coggeshall, is ‘100% Natural Equine.’ Wendy will also explain how Iridology – the study of the eye, specifically the iris, to examine your horse’s health – can help with diagnosis of ailments. We will discover how this approach can provide an insight into your horse’s overall health by examining magnified images of the iris. Disclaimer:
Speaker: the views expressed at the AGM or any other EBA event are those of the speaker and not, necessarily, of EBA. Presentations, or the presence of Vendors at the AGM or any other event, does not constitute an endorsement of the vendor or their products or services.
Saturday 3rd October
This ride near Finchingfield has hardly any road work with 8 and 11 mile routes.
Sunday 4th December
Epping Forest Christmas Ride
Members only. The Christmas ride is an annual treat, with prizes for the best seasonal Fancy Dress, mulled wine and mince pies.
Spring Weekend 2022 Friday 6th May Monday 9th May
at Little Lodge, Norfolk – Members only.
19 places available. Contact our membership secretary, Alison Craigmile via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Essex Bridleways Association
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Thursday 11th November 2021 Keene Hall, Galleywood, Nr Chelmsford, Essex CM2 8PT Doors open 7pm for a 7.30pm start
Agenda: Arrive, help yourself to a free cuppa, have a chat, grab a seat
7.30pm Apologies for absence Approval of 2020 minutes Matters Arising Chair’s Report Treasurer’s Report & Appointment of independent examiner of a/cs for 2020 Appointment of Trustees (nomination forms available from email@example.com or via the news page at www.essexbridleways.co.uk) Other matters at the discretion of the Chair Note: Only members aged 18 and over may vote at the AGM
8.00pm Short break
8.10pm Our guest speaker
Healing your horse an alternative approach with Wendy Hutchinson
Another string to the EBA bow: Express Dedication at Common Law and the Environmental Land Management Scheme By Jan Arthur, Vice-Chair Zoom meeting with Rachel Thompson (Thursday 8th July 2021)
Has anyone heard of The Trails Trust (TTT)?
Members of the EBA Committee hadn’t until Rachel Thompson MBE, their leading light popped up on the TV recently. Set up in 1963, and based in Somerset, it is the oldest bridleway group in the southwest. Rachel and her team in the Trails Trust have been responsible for getting over 80 routes in the Mendips dedicated through Express Dedication at Common Law (EDCL). She is also very involved in the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) going through Parliament now, and is very keen that riders contact their MPs to push the need for permanent access rather than permissive paths which have only temporary legal status and can be withdrawn by the landowner at any time. The two areas, ELMS and EDCL, are of great interest to the EBA which is why we invited Rachel to talk to us at one of our Committee meetings. The Question and Answer session gave us much food for thought. Rachel was
very positive and full of information. It was a lively, wide ranging session and hard to keep up with! Our discussions have led to two positive outcomes. I. Using Express Dedication at Common Law the EBA plan to try to make further bridleways through gaining landowners’ cooperation. This way of getting permanent public rights of way recorded is a different approach to the usual route we all know about: bridleways created through the legal ECC pathway, often involving public enquiries and government inspectors which is convoluted and slow! EDCL requires a shift in thinking, particularly about the relationship with landowners. Here the landowner dedicates a route and the public accepts it. And once adopted it must be recorded by the Highways Authority on the definitive map. So another way to get ‘Better Bridleways for Essex’ Watch this space! 2. The Environmental Land Management Scheme. The Environment Bill includes access under ‘Beauty and Engagement’. Rachel pointed out that under the old stewardship scheme 58,000kms of routes were lost
when the scheme ended as they were permissive routes only and no longer funded. This is why it is imperative that letters are written to MPs now asking for access to be through permanent PRoWs. We all need to make the case that under ELMS, Public Access is a public good, that bridleways and byways encourage biodiversity and connectivity for nature through hedge planting and green routes; it improves mental health for people using the countryside; it can aid local travel. A link to a sample letter, using these points, on which to base yours, is on the EBA website: We want you to help with the EBAs’ newest Campaign: Write to your MP now for the creation of permanent access routes in ELMS. This is the time! Many thanks to Rachel Thompson for the inspirational evening and for giving EBA further impetus for future avenues to explore. More information from: • www.thetrailstrust.org.uk; • Environmental land management schemes:overview-GOV.UK; • Recording a right of way – the British Horse Society
WRITE TO YOUR MP - NOW!
Dear (type your MP’s nam e here
I am writing to you to com ment on the ELMS prop osals regarding access, part horse riders and other user icularly for s of the countryside. It is important that the new makes access permanen Environment Act t and inclusive. In the past previous sche mes financed 58,000 mile s of permissive access, but ceasing in 2010, many of with funding these routes disappeared, along with any business depended on them. In addi es that tion some existing routes which are actively being disappear under the 1st used January 2026 cut-off date could also for claiming historic bridl eways. We need strategic access: routes that help people avoid busy roads or havi create circuits and make ng to cross them; community links. A netw ork of quiet lanes and mult routes underpins the rura i-user off-road l economy and helps land owners diversify. As Lord Benyon stated in a letter to James Heapey MP, ‘Public access is a key way people can engage with the environment. Supportin that g access is therefore an of achieving this goal.’ important aspect He also stated that ‘We are looking at how the futu fund the creation of new re schemes could paths, such as bridleways, which provide access for riders and pedestrians’. cyclists, horse Surely making such sche mes permissive would nega te the why not make access rout cost effectiveness of them es permanent automatically ? So ? In addition, in the Agricultu ral Act access is defined as a ‘public good’. The Envi includes access under ‘bea ronment Bill uty and engagement’. Brid leways and byways, alon footpaths encourage biod g with iversity and connectivity for nature through hedge plan green routes. For people, ting and they help improve the men tal health of those using as well as enabling phys the countryside ical wellbeing through exer cise. It can aid local ’slow connect local communities. ’ travel and All this provides opportun ities for development of loca l businesses and enables enjoy the beauty of the people to countryside in a wide varie ty of ways, all in support economy, building on perm of the rural anent natural biodiversity. For all these reasons my plea is for access routes to be made a permanen countryside and not simp t feature of our ly permissive paths that appear today and may be gone tomorrow. Yours sincerely (add your name, email addr ess and full postal address
It’s easy to play your part... 1. Visit the EBA website https://www.essexbridleways.co.uk/campaigns 2. Copy the letter, click on the link for “writetothem.com” and input your postcode. 3. Click on your MP’s name and paste the letter (or better still, version it to suit your particular case) on the online page, then follow the instructions. Remember: The more of us who write, the better awareness our MPs will have of their need to act on our behalf.
The Challenges of 2021…
2021 saw the return to normality, more or less, which meant we could organise our EBA rides and you could have some fun riding round the lovely Essex countryside. But we hadn’t reckoned with just how unpredictable our British weather can be…
By Sandra Deeran, Rides Organiser
n July and August it seems reasonable to expect some lovely weather the occasional shower to freshen things up, but not torrential rain! Ashfields was fast approaching and Alison Power and I began contacting people, creating maps and writing marshals’ instructions. I rode part of the route and thought “this is going to be great”. However, Mother Nature thought otherwise and opened the floodgates. We had rain, and more rain.
The week before the ride, we were advised one of the main routes on our ride was now impassable, with flooding, deep trenches and lots of mud. Aaarrh without this byway, much of the ride was no longer possible. Lesley Gillman to the rescue, she walked the area and came up with an idea, which depended on a local farmer letting us round his field. I rang the lovely farmer and he kindly gave us permission to ride round one of his fields. So,
two days before the ride, I spent Friday re-drawing maps, re-writing marshal instructions and generally running round a like a whirling dervish trying to sort things out. Sunday dawns and it couldn’t have been more different with over 30 degree temperatures (unfortunately it didn’t dry up the flooded track), but over 100 riders came and had a lovely time! Our thanks to Michael Knight (our lovely local farmer), Ashfields Carriage Driving
and Polo Club (the hosts) and Lesley Gillman (local guru) who made it all possible at very short notice. No sooner was Ashfields completed, the Ramsden Heath ride demanded our attention. Not without issues: when we walked the route, there was a tree down blocking the path and then another part of the route was totally flooded. Added to that, parking was a hay field and the hay hadn’t yet been cut! A nail-biting few weeks…. Thankfully the weather improved and there was a dry/hot spell and Mr Kleider was able to get his hay cut – parking field sorted! Jan spoke to the local landowner, who very kindly allowed us to go into the edge of his field to avoid the flood, but it needed clearing! So, the two Julians (Power and Deeran) set to with chainsaws and strimmers, and began clearing the blockages. Alison and Julian walked about a mile down the bridleway with a chainsaw
and loppers and cleared the tree and lots of brambles and general debris from the area – tree blockage sorted! Then Julian and I (and two dogs – who thought it was great fun to run in and out of the muddy flooded area…), walked down the other bridleway for about a mile with loppers and the strimmer to do what we could with the flood and the edge of the field. The landowner had given us permission to use the edge of his field As long as we didn’t go on
the crops, so we had to strim the edge and cut back some hedges. Unfortunately, the weather was not so kind to us, and we all got a soaking – two wet people and two even wetter dogs!! End result though, was a nice wide track avoiding the awful muddy flood – job done! When we checked the field entrance on Wednesday, all seemed fine, but Mother Continued over page
From previous page
Nature wasn’t done with us yet, and in the days leading up to the ride, she turned on the waterworks yet again. On the Saturday prior, volunteers arrived to mark the route, and the parking field had a layer of surface water, but underneath seemed firm enough. So after much umming and arhhing, we decided to go ahead with the ride. All that Saturday night, neither Julia Wilson, nor Jan Arthur or I had much sleep as we lay awake listening to the rain hammering down, worrying about the field and the ride, but too late to cancel now.
As the season of giftgiving approaches, Christine Rust reminds us how we can raise funds for EBA without even trying. Here’s how:
Lesley Gillman arrived first to ride the route and check it was safe and all the tape and directional signs were in place. However, overnight, the parking field suffered from the deluge and so did
Lesley – her horsebox got stuck! So here’s hoping that the remaining rides on our 2021 calendar will be much easier to organise and please, please, let’s have some nice sunny days without the rain! Thanks once again to all the marshals who helped us on the day – without you these rides wouldn’t happen! Mr Kleider (the lovely landowner) kindly let some of the lorries park on the hardstanding he had, while the trailers with 4x4’s went on the field. Thankfully two wonderful young men (Harry and Gary) – see photo were on hand to help pull four lorries off the field at the end of the day. We couldn’t have done it without you guys – thank you so much! A total of 45 hardy riders turned up at Ramsden Heath and had a lovely time– despite the rain, mud and getting stuck in lorries! Thanks to Mr Kleider for letting us use his field (hopefully it will recover), thanks to Mr Russell, for letting us avoid the flooded area and go into his field and thanks again to Harry and Gary. Well done, all of you!
PUTTING THE ‘FUN’ IN FUNDRAISING Amazon Smile (smile.amazon.co.uk) PayPal (www.paypal.com) Easyfundraising (www.easyfundraising.org.uk) If you’re having a problem using any of these websites please contact Christine on 07849 029632 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday 16th May
By Louise Fuller, ride organiser
s the country crawled out of yet another lockdown in spring this year, EBA’s first ride of the 2021 season was the popular Highwood ride in May. Still held under Covid rules which restricted participants to 100 members, we relaxed enough to allow rosettes, a portaloo and the on-site caterer. Ten days before the ride, I discovered that an archery club was to hold a field competition in woods either side of one of the bridleways we were using. Of course they couldn’t shoot across the bridleway but we still needed to keep well clear of one another. This we managed through a mutually helpful
correspondence with the archery organiser; we will ensure our dates don’t clash in another year. Other preparations were going well as I checked most of the ride on foot in the preceding couple of weeks and rode it on the Wednesday before the ride; no vegetation clearance needed and the ground was mostly good, with one or two small muddy patches, nothing to worry about. On Thursday evening when I checked the car park entrance, had been closed off. Fortunately I know a local resident, and we sorted this one out between us. Friday, I had to resolve a locked gate where the ride passes on to private land, and that evening,
a marshal dropped out at the last minute. Saturday morning saw a frantic exchange of texts, emails and phone calls with another landowner, meaning we had to amend part of the route over his land. Just resolved that in time for the marking on Saturday afternoon. Once the route was marked, there was just time to check all the arrangements and issue any final instructions. Then the rain started. It rained very hard all night. The entrance to the car park field has a dip and it quickly became boggy. We tried to bolster the surface with some mouldy hay from the nearby barn and Alison Power stood at the entrance urging drivers to engage four-wheel drive (if they knew how!) and just keep going; don’t stop or they would have got stuck. Luckily I had obtained permission to use some adjacent hardstanding for the big lorries which was a godsend. By mid-morning the sun came out, there was a light wind, the ground began to dry out and everyone left the field safely. The riders came back having enjoyed the ride hugely and although some were muddy, they didn’t seem to mind. The bonus of holding the ride in May this year was that the bluebells were still out in one of the woods; absolutely beautiful – great swathes of deep blue. Seen from horseback with the added advantage of extra height, the riders had a lovely view of them. As with all rides, the huge amount of work involved was greatly helped by enough willing volunteers on the day itself and the days beforehand. My thanks to all.
Why EBA membership matters By Louise Fuller,
© Helen Mathias/EyeContact Photography
ow often do I hear a rider say “I didn’t renew my membership as I no longer go on the rides”? But EBA is about much more than the rides we organise. Of course these are a lot of fun, they are a great way to get riders out into our lovely countryside and they raise valuable funds to support our activities. But our trustees, area representatives and our Historic Researcher and Bridleways Development Officer are very busy behind the scenes, working hard to make sure the interests of horse riders are taken into account on our Public Rights of Way. This work includes: • Lobbying for equestrians to be given consideration in the planning authorities’ Local Plans and the highway authorities’ Rights of Way Improvement Plans
• Carrying out historic research to claim “lost” routes • Following up maintenance issues with Essex County Council • Organising clearance parties to open up overgrown bridleways • Responding to proposals to divert or extinguish bridleways • Getting involved in developments and planning applications where benefits to horse riders can be gained • Negotiating for new routes which horse riders can use safely. All this activity is for the benefit of every horse rider, now and in the future, not just for those who go on our rides. The more members we have, the greater our potential impact. So next time you hear someone say they didn’t bother to renew their
EBA membership, remind them of all the good work we do, and make sure they rejoin straight away. At time of writing EBA had around 800 members – a mere fraction of the horse owning population of Essex. Through all the hard work mentioned above, we are making ourselves heard but we are still a tiny organisation in the eyes of those in power. Things will only get worse on our roads for the horse riders of Essex and we must demand more consideration from the authorities. None of us want to ride on the roads so please, encourage your fellow equestrians to join EBA and support the volunteers who are shouting loudly for change and Better Bridleways in Essex. Just £15 a year is surely a price worth paying? And of course, if you would like to join our ranks and play your part, then please get in touch. See pages 23 and 24 for membership and contact details.
Children’s page FAMOUS PEOPLE WORDSEARCH
Riders and the Countryside Code By Jan Arthur, Vice-Chair Have you ever considered your impact on the countryside when you’re out riding? There are ways that we can think about what we are doing if we follow the updated Countryside Code. Respect; Protect; Enjoy. Riders should: Respect everyone: be considerate of others; be nice, say ‘hello’; leave gates as you find them; follow bridleway signs.
Protect the environment: take your litter home; care for nature- do not cause damage or disturbance. Enjoy: check your route and local conditions; plan your adventure; enjoy your visit. If we all think a bit more about others’ point of view, we can all make a difference. Landowners and the Countryside Code Landowners also have their role, they must: Accept their rights and
responsibilities: keep rights of way clear; do not obstruct access to access land Make it easy for visitors to act responsibly: keep paths clear and way marks and signs in good order; create appropriate gaps in boundary features; give clear polite guidance when necessary; get rid of your own rubbish responsibly to encourage others to do the same Identify threats to visitor safety: avoid using electric fencing next to PRoWs, use warning signs when you have to; use chemicals responsibly; animals which may attack visitors should not be able to roam freely on public access land. Perhaps these are ideal aspirations! But think… Landowners have their concerns over the way the public use their land: ‘people do not adhere to the Countryside code, this is a serious issue; the public think they can go anywhere; dogs
not under control cause problems with stock – sheep chasing; horse riders don’t keep to rights of way; crops get damaged and stock frightened; mountain bikers often leave gates open; there is illegal night time activity; criminal activity includes lamping and poaching; people can be aggressive and abusive.’ We riders have our frustrations with Landowners too, but with all these and other issues to put up with, we as riders can help to improve things for everyone; countryside users and landowners alike. Riders need to get landowners on our side, especially if we want to pursue the Express Dedication at Common Law route, explained in another article in this edition of Update. One way to do this is by putting the Countryside Code into operation when we are out and about. Also see www.gov.uk/countrysidecode; and ELMs159 test report appendix June 2021
write to Alison Craigmile, EBA Membership Secretary, 40 The Chase, Romford, Essex RM1 4BE. Save our resources: Choosing to renew your membership automatically via PayPal or by standing order cuts administration and reduces EBA print and postage costs.
© Helen Mathias/EyeContact Photography
EBA needs your support to fight for safe off-road access for horse riders. Membership costs just £15 a year and is free for under 16s.
How to join: 1. Online
Log on to www.essexbridleways.co.uk and on the ‘join us’ page you can find links to join online, renew your subscription or download a membership form. Joining online helps us
by cutting down on administration and saves EBA money. 2. By post Ask our membership secretary to send you a membership form, download from our website or pick one up at our rides. Contact: email@example.com or
• Up to £5 off EBA rides entry fees. • Priority entry to some EBA events, including EBA holidays. • EBA Update magazine delivered to your door twice a year. • Email notifications of news and events. • Access to EBA’s Ride & Share Scheme. • Help with bridleways issues and claims. • Up to 10% discount on new insurance policies from South Essex Insurance Brokers. • 10% discount from John Griffin Trailer Training. • 30% discount on your first BHS membership - join by phone or paper application, state that you are an EBA member and give your membership number to receive your discount. This action cannot be done via online applications.
Essex Bridleways Association Contacts List Chair
Rides Entry Secretary
Ride and Share
Historic Records Officer
Projects and Funding
EBA Update Editor
Bridleway Clearance Coordinator Brenda Hatch
Rides Coordinator/Social Media
EBA Area Representatives Basildon
Michelle Woodall 07809 439383 Mandy French 01371 850215
Brentwood & Havering
Heather Brady 01992 578072 Liz Hollingsworth 07855 329059
Rochford & Southend
Sarah Hodgson Sarah Moss
07871 169406 07966 994367
Essex Bridleways Association, PO Box Association 12014, Chelmsford CM1 @EssexBridleways 9UD www.essexbridleways.co.uk Essex Bridleways Twitter www.essexbridleways.co.uk Essex Bridleways Assoc Twitter @EssexBridleways